Why RIS is better than ISNA or ICNA conventions

The RIS bag“RIS-tified in Toronto.” – Mujahideen Ryder
This past week I was at Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference 2005 (RIS 4) in Toronto, Canada. RIS included a 3-day conference, a concert after that and a week-long knowledge retreat. The knowledge retreat, by far, was the best out of the 3 events of RIS. Attending 4 ISNAs and 3 ICNAs, and only 1 RIS, I have come to a conclusion that ISNA and ICNA conferences are nothing compared to what RIS has done. RiS is only 4 years old and yet they have gotten the most widely known scholars not just in North America, but all across the world. Not only scholars, but nasheed artists that are nearly impossible to get in America. They also offer the retreat for the 2nd time after the conference and concert. The best part of all of this is that it is less fitna filled then ISNA or ICNA. I will go over some major points why RIS is better then ISNA/ICNA conferences.

Here is a breif review of the conference:

  • Friday:
    • I missed everything on this day, because we left Friday night and came in Saturday morning. I heard Ms. Shabazz (eldest daughter of Malcolm X) was really good. I’m sad i missed it.
  • Saturday:
    • Ustad Muhammad alShareef was amazing in the morning with his talk about the importance of Prophet Muhammad (saas). He started out with a funny analogy with an elephant.
    • Next came Shaykh Abdullah Adhami who always hypes me up, because he is one of my favorite speakers. He discussed the relations between brothers and sisters in doing Islamic work for the sake of Allah (swt).
    • Shaykh Riyad Ul Haq had a really gangsta beard. MashaAllah! I have his book, but I never seen him in real life. It was great to see him and hear his talk. He is very calm and speaks with a deep but soft voice. Hard to explain. I didn’t take notes during the conference so I don’t recall much.
    • Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah is the man! This man, subhanAllah, is amazing! He is very knowledgable. He is one of the top Islamic scholars around the world. He tore it up at the retreat and the conference. Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah
    • I missed Dr. Tareq Suwaidan’s lecture that day, because i went to Lahore Tikka in Toronto’s (NY’s) Jackson Heights – Gerrard Street (like Chicago’s Deevan Street).
    • “Surah 5, ayah 4, Surah 35, Ayah 25, Surah 26, Ayah 142, etc…” (made up numbers) – Dr. Zakir Naik. This guy is like the citation rapper. He drops numbers like a telephone operator. He owned every other religion. Seriously, if any non-Muslim was in the audience, I think they will convert, inshaAllah! He is the Indian version of Ahmed Deedat.
    • Imam Zaid Shakir spoke in the evening on the importance of the Islamic civlization and the 1400 years of histrory. The Islamic tradition is losing it’s grip on the ummah, and Muslims are lost away in the dunay. We need to go back to Islam and go back to when we the world power. InshaAllah! Ameen!
    • The finale of the night was of course Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf makes me cry sometimes. SubhanAllah! May Allah continue to bless him and continue to allow him to learn and teach others! Ameen! In this talk he talked about Andalusia (Islamic Spain) and how it was the most advanced society in the world during that time period. It was all due to Islam. SubhanAllah! You just had to be there to be mesmerized or as I say ‘RIS-tified”!
  • Sunday:
    • Chilled mostly in the bazaar and with family and friends in the morning. The bazaar review will come later in this post.
    • I ended the conference with Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf basically linked rock and roll music to Andalusian and North African music. This was so amazing! The fact that he linked it and proved it comparing a popular rock song with the generic beat “la la la la la la la laaa” with “la ilah ha il lal lah”. THIS WAS SO HOT! I was shocked beyond belief. The power and effect of Islam and it’s influence on even American music.
  • Bazaar Review:
    • It’s not big like ISNA or ICNA, but it was nice. Featured many famous names such as CAIR-Canada, Sunnipath, Young Muslims, Maniac Muslims, Ihya Foundation, etc. I bought some cool shirts from Maniac Muslim. I also bought a 2006 ‘Longing for the Divine’ calender for my sister. I liked the bazaar. I didn’t see much fitna either, alhamdulillah.
  • The RIS Concert Review:
    • Native Deen: They were the best peformers by far! I loved their new songs. I remember back in the day when they were known as MYNA raps. Those were classic. Now they’re known as Native Deen and they have a new album out
      called ‘Deen You Know’. They had some really nice songs.
    • Najam Sheraz: A pakistani singer. That explains it all. Just kidding! Haha. He can sing, mashaAllah! He has a great voice and with his accent he is still entertaining. Native DeenHe had this one part where a bunch of Muslim children from varoius backgrounds came on stage and he asked them where they were from. It was nice to hear all the different countries.
    • Raihan was the 2nd best after Native Deen. I love this group. They started this whole main stream Nasheed business. They basically own MTV Asia. Allah hu Akbar!
    • And lastly, of course, Sami Yusuf. No offense, but I was disappointed, he’s not an entertainer like the 3 brothers from Native Deen. He just sang his songs. That was pretty much it. But it he is really humble and showed a lot of hayaa. MashaAllah! (Mesut Kurtis never came!)


  • Bazaar (size wise):
    • ISNA: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • RIS: 3rd Place.
  • Bazaar (fitna wise):
    • RIS: low fitna.
    • ICNA: moderate fitna.
    • ISNA: high fitna.
  • Speakers/Scholars and quality of lectures:
    • RIS: 1st place.
    • ISNA: 2nd place.
    • ICNA: 3rd place.
  • Entertainment:
    • RIS: 1st place.
    • ISNA: 2nd Place.
    • ICNA: 3rd Place.
  • Food:
    • ICNA: 1st Place.
    • RIS: 2nd Place.
    • ISNA: 3rd Place.
  • General Fitna:
    • RIS: Low fitna.
    • ICNA: Moderate fitna.
    • ISNA: High fitna.
  • Attendence to the conference:
    • ISNA: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • RIS: 3rd Place.
  • Attendence to the lectures:
    • RIS: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • ISNA: 3rd Place.
  • Prayer logistics:Praying @ RIS
    • RIS: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • ISNA: 3rd Place.

Overal Champion: RIS wins!
Somethings about RIS that amazed me were simple things like the way they had the prayer area set up. They put spaces in between each saff in order for people to put their shoes and bags. This was first time I seen this. Muslims finally started to use thier brain. Also Shaykh Hamza even said it, the fact that the attendence to the lectures during the conference was oustanding. It was always full or at least a good 7,000 people listening. RIS single handedly took speakers around the world and famous nasheed artists and brought them all together for one week. Imagine the cost and the amount of talking over the period of a year to get this done. Truely amazing!

Official conclusion of MR:

Muslim community in Canada > Muslim community in America

Alhamdulillah! For the first time I’m proud to be Canadian. Yes, I lived in canada. I have dual-citizenship for both countries. I was born in America and lived in Canada, currently living in America. 🙂

My RIS Pictures
For the notes from the Knowledge Retreat, check out my good friend’s website: www.hahmed.com.


InshaAllah, I shall be attending the RIS (Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference) in Toronto, Canada. Please make dua that my trip is safe and that the brothers that I am travelling with and that are travelling by bus make it safely, inshaAllah. Ameen! Special shout out to Junaid Arshad.The scholars and speakers that will be lecturing are as follows (in no particular order): Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah (Mauritania), Dr. Tareq Suwaidan (Kuwait), Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (USA), Ms. Atalla Shabazz (USA), Dr. Omar Abdel Kafi (Egypt), Dr. Zakir Naik (India), Dr. Tariq Ramadan (Switzerland), Imam Zaid Shakir (USA), Mr. Eric Margolis, Shaykh Mohammad Jebril (Egypt), Shaykh Riyadh Ul Haq (UK), Shaykh Sulaiman Mulla (South Africa), Imam Suhaib Webb (USA), Shaykh Abdullah Adhami (Syria), Dr. Jamal Badawi (Canada), Dr. Ingrid Mattson (USA), Shaykh Muhammed AlShareef (Canada), and Dr. Munir ElKassem (Canada).

Click here to view the Trailer
There will also be a Muslim Concert featuring artists Sami Yusuf, Raihan and Mesut Kurtis. InshaAllah, I’ll be going to this.

Get ready for massive pictures when I come back!

The Quran and Economic Environtmental Ethics

This is a great article I read on BBC News. It talks about how the people of Zanzibar (99% Muslim) are useing Islamic ethics to help save and keep the environtment healthy.

“One local fisherman summarised neatly why the religious message has succeeded where government decrees failed: It is easy to ignore the government, he said, but no-one can break God’s law.”

From the article: Eco-Islam hits Zanzibar fishermen


Iraq held it’s elections

And no attacks happened. Funny thing is, “masked gunmen” were guarding the polling stations. Very interesting, how America goes after these “so called terrorists” but then use them to help initiate a ‘stable’ Iraqi government.

In reality, the “masked gunmen” were Sunnis, trying to allow their Sunni brothers and sisters to vote, to show the shia that they aint bullshiaa’in (haha, jk to all my shia brothers and sisters).

I don’t know who exactly will become President, but I hope its a Muslim leader who is adherent to the teachings of Islam and open for re-building the country and ending any type of war. And most importantly: GETTIN THE US SOLDIERS OUTTA IRAQ!

InshaAllah (God willing)

Allah knows best.

Deeds are like Internet Cookies…

Except you can’t delete them. Our deeds, whether good or bad are written down. Records are kept of every action we take. Just like how every website we go to, they send a ‘cookie’ to a temporary folder. The difference is we can delete the internet cookies, but we can’t delete our ‘deeds cookies’.

We can’t eat them either!

(Edit: you can change your deeds, by repenting and doing good deeds to over write the bad deeds. You guys get the point.)